Monthly Archives: May 2009

It’s a Big Dam Country — Day 18

In Louisville all day today. Picked my Mom up around 9am. We didn’t stop until 4:30.

Began the day with a trip to the McAlpine Locks. Right in the mid­dle of the city. Louisville has done a good job of mak­ing use of the water­front. It’s a large, pleas­ant, pedes­tri­an and bicy­cle friend­ly space. It’s not so great for pho­tog­ra­phy. Few good slight lines and a lot of heavy orna­men­tal fences and rail­ings. I did some okay work and got a lot of shots of killdeer. (Why weren’t the water­front grass lands off lim­its dur­ing nest­ing season?) 

And then, and then… final­ly! A real™ barge and tug appeared on the scene. 

a barge hove into view

a barge hove into view

We watched them lock through. 

They get real­ly close to the walls.

it's a tight fit side to side

it’s a tight fit side to side

It’s tight fit end to end as well. Here they are clos­ing the upstream gates. 

close the upstream gate...

close the upstream gate…

Let the water out, open the down­stream gates and off she goes.

and away she goes

and away she goes

It takes bout an hour for a barge to lock through. It’ moves slow­ly but its nev­er boring.

After the morn­ing excite­ment we went to my sister’s house to meet up and head for the zoo. The kids spent most of the after­noon play­ing in the splash park.

I went exploring. 

High­lights:

A very col­or­ful lizard.

colorful reptile

col­or­ful reptile

From the aviary, Open Billed Stork.

big bird looking sceptical

big bird look­ing sceptical

Crowned Pigeon.

one of my favorite birds

one of my favorite birds

Feed­ing time in the tor­toise exhibit.

those *are* canteloupes

those *are* canteloupes

Old­er fel­low eat­ing a green pep­per. (Slow­ly)

greens are good for you

greens are good for you

Two from the “What are You Look­ing At?” gang

yes?

yes?

what? me?

what? me?

Now I’m get­ting it all packed up again to be on the road tomorrow.

It’s a Big Dam Country — Day 16

Lawrence­burg Indi­ana to Louisville Kentucky. 

Start­ed the day late but I only had one dam on the list and the dis­tance to Louisville from Lawrence­burg isn’t much.

But first a stop for some buz­zard pic­tures. A deer car­cass on the shoul­der had 5 or 6 birds already work­ing on it. A fur­ther 10 or so sat on the ridge of the two barns nearby. 

wating for a turn at the buffet

wat­ing for a turn at the buffet

I got a lucky shot of one of them leaving.

flying away

fly­ing away

So some­where out there, in the mid­dle of the sort of coun­try that hosts buz­zards on barn roofs you will crest a rise and see — this:
belterra "floating" casino and hotel

One of the infa­mous “float­ing” casi­nos. Sigh.

Mark­land Locks and Dam spans the Ohio Riv­er between Flo­rence and Mark­land Indiana. 

I start­ed on the Indi­ana side look­ing at the down­stream side of the dam.

downstream view

down­stream view

Then crossed the bridge to the Ken­tucky side to see what I could see. There’s an obser­va­tion tow­er over­look­ing the locks.

tall enough to see over the fence

tall enough to see over the fence

For all the barge traf­fic that is sup­posed to exist on the Ohio Riv­er I have only seen two. Both glimpsed through the trees as I was dri­ving. I hoped to see a barge go through the locks. No such luck. I did get to watch this lit­tle fish­ing boat make it’s way through. 

plenty of maneuvering room

plen­ty of maneu­ver­ing room

First they close the gate at the upstream end of the lock. The boat goes in and ties up.

first you close the top

first you close the top

Then the water lev­el starts to drop. I don’t know how they move the water out. There was no obvi­ous outflow.

it doesn't matter how small

where does the water go out?

Final­ly they open the gate at the down­stream side of the lock.

and out they go

and away they go

I got shots of anoth­er of the main­te­nance boats. This time much clos­er but with the dang fence in the way. This one is named Gibson.

the gibson

the gib­son

At most of the dams there has been a cer­tain amount of trash washed up against the dam. Most­ly tree branch­es. At Mark­land there was tons of trash. Ugly mess.

that's a lot of trash

that’s a lot of trash

That was the only dam for the day. It was last thing I’ll see on the riv­er for awhile. About thir­ty miles form Mark­land at Madi­son Indi­ana the roads in both states take a turn way from the riv­er. From there down to Cairo there only a few places where the through roads fol­low the riv­er. I’m not sure how I’ll han­dle the rest of the trip down the Ohio Riv­er. If I con­tin­ue to try to fol­low the riv­er at all. 

I did find a num­ber of odd­i­ties on the rest of my drive.

This is the first barn I’ve seen with an adver­tise­ment for some­thing oth­er than Mail Pouch tobac­co. Still tobac­co though. Ken­tucky Club. There’s also a Mail Pouch ad on the oth­er side. Not sure how the own­er man­aged that.

two tobacco sign on one barn

two tobac­co sign on one barn

Con­tin­u­ing the theme of boats parked in the grass, three tugs up on blocks. The Susie B, the Elsie B, and one whose name I couldn’t find.

more boats on blocks

more boats on blocks

I’ll end with three shots from Louisville.

A cre­ative way to paint those lit­tle poles in park­ing lots. There was an entire row of them.

la aroma de cuba

la aro­ma de cuba

The barista who made my life sav­ing cof­fee last night. I promised to put him in the blog.

live saver!

live saver!

The coolest BBQ wag­on I’ve seen in a long time. There was no one in res­i­dence so I couldn’t ask ques­tions about it. (Love that it has a smok­er too.)

rolling BBQ!

rolling BBQ!

)

There won’t be much to post this week­end. I hope to get to McAlpine locks and the dam behind Falls of the Ohio on Sun­day. I’ll be back on the road on Mon­day. No plan for which direc­tion I’ll be head­ing just yet.

Today’s Route:


View It’s a Big Dam Coun­try — Day 16 in a larg­er map

It’s a Big Dam Country — Day 15

From Ash­land, KY to Lawrence­burg, IN.

Nev­er far from rain­ing at any point. I had the top down a cou­ple of times but always had to stop to put it back up with­in half an hour. I’m get­ting a lit­tle tired of the misty, atmos­pher­ic stuff.

Start­ed with the Greenup Lock and Dam. 

Greenup is a lit­tle odd because they built the bridge right behind it. From a dis­tance it looks like they just plopped the bridge deck on top of the dam.

bridge and dam at greenup

bridge and dam at greenup

I got a nice shot of the hoist that runs on rails above the spill­way to lift the gates.

hoist at greenup dam

hoist at greenup dam

The last dam yes­ter­day and both dams today were sur­round­ed with huge pic­nic grounds. You can get a good long view from the pic­nic shel­ters but the ground slopes quick­ly down below the lev­el of the locks and by the time you reach the chain link fence you’re shoot­ing up at the sky (and you have wet feet.)

The Ohio Riv­er Val­ley nev­er lets you for­get that it is a val­ley. No mat­ter how broad it gets or how far you seem to be from the riv­er you can always see the hills on the oth­er side.

looking at the hills across the valley

look­ing at the hills across the valley

Mail Pouch Tobac­co is about the only sign you still on barns around here. The barns are in var­i­ous states of repair but the signs are all weath­ered to just about this degree. There must have been one last sum­mer of sign painting. 

painted barn at blue creek

paint­ed barn at blue creek

In Man­ches­ter Ohio I saw these folks set­ting up the car­ni­val rides for this weekend’s Car­ni­val at the Riv­er Barn.

setting up a small town carnival

set­ting up a small town carnival

Before the push to mod­ern­ize the lock and dam sys­tem on the Ohio there were more than 50 small­er locks. Num­ber 34 was Chi­lo Lock in Chi­lo, Ohio. There is a park, his­tor­i­cal muse­um, and nature pre­serve there now.

This is the lock house.

Lock House at Chilo Lock #34

Lock House at Chi­lo Lock #34

The Ohio Riv­er tra­di­tion of park­ing boats in the grass con­tin­ues with the Jen­nie Wade being up on blocks here.

steamboat jenny wade

steam­boat jen­ny wade

Arty pad­dle wheel shot. 

paddle wheel (arty, no?)

pad­dle wheel (arty, no?)

This pile of mess is actu­al­ly two steam engines from the Waker­obin which was built in 1926 for the Light­house Ser­vice (lat­er Coast Guard) and most recent­ly serv­ing as the USS Night­mare, a haunt­ed Hal­loween attrac­tion. She sank in 2005 at Hebron, KY. There are sup­posed to be plans afoot to restore the engines. I doubt much can be done with them. 

the steam engines from the wakrobin

the steam engines from the wakrobin

But they do make cool rusty subjects.

detail of rusty steam engine

detail of rusty steam engine

The last dam of the day (rainy of course) Cap­tain Antho­ny Mel­dahl Locks and Dam. 

Two views look­ing at the dam behind the locks. One from slight­ly upstream and one from slight­ly downstream.

meldahl dam

mel­dahl dam 

another look at meldahl dam

anoth­er look at mel­dahl dam

Using a long lens I was able to get this shot of one the of Corps of Engi­neers’ main­te­nance boats. It’s kin­da cute — don­cha think?

corps of engineers maintenance boat

corps of engi­neers main­te­nance boat

That was the last stop of the day. Then I got colos­sal­ly screwed try­ing to get through Cincin­nati via 5250 at 4PM. Went a whole bunch north that I didn’t mean to. End­ed up in Lawrence­burg, Indi­ana home of the Argosy Casi­no. Or some­thing like that. 

Today’s Route:


View It’s a Big Dam Coun­try — Day 15 in a larg­er map

Lyric of the Day: (I heard it twice it stopped me cold both times.)

The look on your face yanks my neck on my chain.

(Neko Case)

It’s a Big Dam Country — Day 14

It was a long dam day. 

My trip back west has begun. For the first few days I will be fol­low­ing the Ohio Riv­er from it’s ori­gin at the con­flu­ence of the Alleghe­ny and the Monon­ga­hela in Pitts­burgh to it’s end at the Mis­sis­sip­pi near Cairo Illi­nois. All told it is 981 miles long. I’ll be par­al­lel­ing it for most of it’s length. So call it three days trav­el with a day or two break for more fam­i­ly visiting.

There are a total of 21 sets of locks and dams on the Ohio Riv­er. I can’t man­age to vis­it all of them but I’m look­ing for­ward to pho­tograph­ing a good number.

First up — a boat ramp. This is typ­i­cal of Ohio riv­er boat ramps in the Pitts­burgh area. A res­i­den­tial street stoops under the rail­road tracks and dead ends at the river.

boat ramp at sewickley

boat ramp at sewickley

I took a lot of indus­tri­al pic­tures today. Here’s an exam­ple form some­where near Glas­gow, PA.

industrial landscape

indus­tri­al landscape 

There are some amaz­ing stretch­es of indus­tri­al scenery. Often the plants are so big that they sim­ply strad­dle the road. Usu­al­ly with no room on either side of the road for a shoulder.

The first dam of the day was Pike Island lock and dam at Clearview, WV

The lock gates are impres­sive. Can you imag­ine hav­ing to tight­en that turnbuckle?

lock gate at pike island

lock gate at pike island

There was water flow­ing over just one of the spillways. 

spillwya gates at pike island

spill­wya gates at pike island

I took quite a long walk on the rails-to-trails bike path next to the dam. By the time I got back there was a fel­low wear­ing a nifty Army Corps of Engi­neers t-shirt who was very inter­est­ed in my odd hob­by of trav­el­ing about the coun­try tak­ing pic­tures of dams. We chat­ted about the dams I had pho­tographed in the West and even­tu­al­ly he decid­ed that I was harm­less enough. He told me which of the next 7 or so dams were worth get­ting a good look at and which side of the riv­er was best for each. 

The weath­er today was less than won­der­ful. The (real­ized) threat of rain kept the top up all day and the humid­i­ty was wicked. I felt stu­pid dri­ving around wear­ing a sweat­shirt to stay warm enough because I had to have the Ac on despite it being only 72 degrees out­side. At a cou­ple of spots the down­pours were so harsh and the stand­ing water on the roads so deep that I pulled into park­ing lots and sat it out.

some times it's better to just wait it out

some times it’s bet­ter to just wait it out

The clouds do make for some dra­mat­ic light­ing effects. I think this is a coal fired pow­er plant. There are a lot of sim­i­lar places along the riv­er and they fre­quent­ly accom­pa­ny Alu­minum plants. (It’s hard to put names to plants when they are so dang big that you can’t find the entrance.)

power plant - i think

pow­er plant — i think

The next dam was Han­ni­bal at Han­ni­bal, OH. Here’s a por­tion of the upstream side show­ing the gate mechanism.

spillway at hannibal

spill­way at hannibal

And a lift­ing hoist on the lock wall.

hoist on the lock wall at hannibal

hoist on the lock wall at hannibal

This is a Maneu­ver­boat 35. Clear­ly out of place on the grass. Steam​boats​.org has a anoth­er pic­ture and some infor­ma­tion about the boat and the wick­et dams that it was used to maintain. 

maneuverboat 35

maneu­ver­boat 35

One of the hap­py bits of get­ting lost in a lit­tle town like Sis­ter­ville, WV is that you might take a wrong turn and dis­cov­er this:

the ferry is coming to pick me up

the fer­ry is com­ing to pick me up

Dri­ve to the riv­er, park, and flash your lights. Get on the fer­ry, pay your $4, and putt away to the oth­er side. 

looking at the ohio shore

look­ing at the ohio shore

The big guy with the cig­ar will tell you to go ahead and get out out of the car to get a bet­ter picture.

friendly ferry pilot

friend­ly fer­ry pilot

It’s an awful­ly clever fer­ry. The car deck stays point­ing the same way all the time and the engine piv­ots around to push from either direc­tion. Sort of like this:

facing the shore you're leaving from

fac­ing the shore you’re leav­ing from

pivoting the engine

piv­ot­ing the engine

most of the way there

most of the way there

facing the shore you're heading to

fac­ing the shore you’re head­ing to

Now I was on the Ohio side of the riv­er trav­el­ing on hwy 7. It moves a bit faster than hwy 2 on the West Vir­ginia side.

The next dam was Wil­lows Lock and Dam. This one was hard to get a good view of because the ACE puts 8 foot chain-link around every­thing and there was no high spot to stand on and see over. This view of (I think) a piece of spill­way gate sit­ting on top of the lock wall will have to do.

gates at willows dam

gates at wil­lows dam

There were three more dams between Wil­lows and Hunt­ing­ton, WV where I planned to spend the night. Luck­i­ly I had the advice of the Corps itself and skipped Belleville and Racine stay­ing on Hwy 7 rather than fol­low­ing the much small­er hwy 124. Turns out it was a good plan because most of 124 was detoured on to 7 anyway. 

The final dam of the day was Byrd. For­mer­ly Gal­lipo­lis which I dis­cov­ered is pro­nounced as odd­ly in WV as Ver­sailles is in PA. (That’s North Ver-sails, thank you very much.)

I was tempt­ed to grab a quick shot from the road and head to a hotel. But the turn-out was nice­ly marked and the park­ing lot lev­el and not too bumpy. Good idea. The light was fab­u­lous. Dusk com­bined with storm clouds to make some drama.

spillway at the bryd dam (upstream side)

spill­way at the bryd dam (upstream side)

spillway at the bryd dam (downstream side)

spill­way at the bryd dam (down­stream side)

Good day…

Route for Day 14:


View It’s a Big Dam Coun­try — Day 14 in a larg­er map

It’s a Big Dam Country — Day 10

A day late — because the inter­net con­nec­tion isn’t consistent.

Final­ly home. Old home that is.

I rode the inter­state from Colum­bus to Pitts­burgh. The first unbro­ken inter­state stretch of this trip. Ugh. I just want­ed to be here (Pitts­burgh) rather than there (Colum­bus) as fast as possible.

No road pic­tures today. Instead a few shots from around my sister’s house.

First up — the house. There are a lot of steps from the street to the house.

wolfe house

wolfe house

Nar­row city street park­ing. Yes it’s a two way street, and yes there is park­ing on both sides of the street. You learn to adapt.

my little car, my brother-in-law, stuff

my lit­tle car, my broth­er-in-law, stuff

My sister’s gar­den is a lot fur­ther along than mine.

small white iris

small white iris

The old­est of my sister’s girls Sarah and their dog Mylie.

niece sarah, dog mylie

niece sarah, dog mylie

Sum­mer sun­sets in Pitts­burgh are always pret­ty. Sarah took this pic­ture while we all were sit­ting on the front porch talking.

pittsburgh sunset (taken by sarah)

pitts­burgh sun­set (tak­en by sarah)

Tomor­row I’ll spend the day out and about — the sec­ond old­est ceme­tery in the city is just down the block and there are some won­der­ful views over the riv­er from the next street.

It’s a Big Dam Country — Day 9

I’m get­ting a lit­tle ner­vous about mak­ing my date in Pitts­burgh. Today I did 350 miles. The first 200 miles took 6 hours. The last 150 miles about 2. 

So here are the high­lights of the first 200 miles.

I start­ed on the west side of Decatur and head­ed through town on Hwy 36. At the cen­ter of the old­er sec­tion of town I came across 5 church­es in 3 blocks — all with steeples or bell tow­ers. If you haven’t done much west — east trav­el you may not have noticed that the surest sign of hav­ing crossed the Mis­sis­sip­pi Riv­er is that all of the build­ings on Main Street are brick. Not just the banks, but the bar­ber­shop, the gro­cery, and the tire store.

Tus­co­la, IL has sev­er­al grain ele­va­tors and at least three sets of RR tracks. Here are two of the elevators.

grain elevator at Tuscola

grain ele­va­tor at Tuscola

grain elevators at Tuscola

grain ele­va­tors at Tuscola

This is one of the small­er planters I saw today.

john deere planter (eastern illinois)

john deere planter (east­ern illinois)

In South Dako­ta and Iowa get­ting stuck behind a planter on the road was not big deal. You nev­er had to wait more than a cou­ple of min­utes to get to a clear bit of road to pass and there’s almost nev­er on-com­ing traf­fic. In Illi­nois and Indi­ana you can wait a long time for a pass­ing lane and even longer for for a spot with no on-com­ing traffic. 

There is a spot in Indi­ana — Dana to be exact. That con­tains per­haps the world’s high­est coef­fi­cient of WTF-itude.

Dana, ID is the boy­hood home of Ernie Pyle.
There is a muse­um in Dana. Next to which is pos­si­bly the most illeg­i­ble pub­lic mur­al I’ve ever seen.

mural depicting the adventures of ernie pyle (I think)

mur­al depict­ing the adven­tures of ernie pyle (I think)

On the grounds of the muse­um is this paint­ed giraffe. Yes he is wear­ing two dif­fer­ent uni­forms, GI in the front and high school bas­ket­ball in the back. Love the sweat socks.

painted giraffe

paint­ed giraffe

fromthe rear...

from the rear…

With this even odd­er expla­na­tion. I mean giraffes? Pigs I under­stand, cows I’ve seen done, even hip­pos, but giraffes?

sign explaning the giraffe

sign explan­ing the giraffe

But wait — there’s more — at the right edge of the park­ing lot across the street from the muse­um is this sign.

erm...

erm…

Uh huh… let the enten­dres (dou­ble and beyond) begin.

One of the love­ly things about being far enough back east is that there are woods. You know, clumps of trees, often sur­round­ing a creek or pond. Like this lit­tle spot that I stopped at for a snack break. 

nice spot for a picnic

nice spot for a picnic

It was 81 degrees and get­ting very mug­gy at 11 am.

A cou­ple of hours lat­er I stopped for lunch in Danville, IN. There’s an Ital­ian place across from the cour­t­house called Frank’s Place. For­give the mob­ster por­traits on the walls. The Cae­sar sal­ad with grilled chick­en was love­ly. My last stop was at the Cour­t­house Grounds for an iced latte.

On the actu­al cour­t­house grounds was one of the nicest vet­er­ans memo­ri­als I’ve seen this trip. 

world war I and II veterans memorial

world war I and II vet­er­ans memorial

The side­walk place­ment isn’t ide­al but the design is just right.

Ran­dom bits from today’s notes.

I can’t see a sign for Terre Haute with­out remem­ber­ing my Dad’s dread­ful ‘ter­ri­bly hot’ puns when we stopped there on a road trip to Col­orado in per­haps 1968?

On I-70 near Day­ton OH there is a sign that says Xenia Urbana 1 mile. Clear­ly just the right name for a space hook­er with a heart of gold for my next space opera.

The last 150 miles were on I-70 between Indi­anapo­lis, IN and Colum­bus, OH. Pure urban/suburban inter­state hell. I still don’t under­stand how I blew past not one but two cops at 12 over the lim­it and didn’t get a blink. No, there was no one going faster than me at the time and yes, the sec­ond time I was re-emerg­ing from pass­ing an idiot in an Excur­sion on the right by using a friend­ly UPS freighter as a block. (Dude had the sweet­est smile…)

Today’s Route:


View It’s a Big Dam Coun­try — Day 9 in a larg­er map

It’s a Big Dam Country — Day 8

Most­ly dri­ving today. A few inter­est­ing detours. Some planned some not.

I left Pano­ra around 9. Made my way to West Des Moines via some love­ly park­ways to nowhere. Found a Barnes and Noble with a Star­bucks and got an iced lat­te. Offi­cial­ly sum­mer now. Tried to plan a rea­son­able route for gen­er­al east­er­li­ness and failed. So I decid­ed to go with the “what’s about 100 miles east of here?” game. 

That would be Pel­la, IA home of Pel­la Win­dows. So I stopped, ille­gal­ly, and get this quick shot of the corp head­quar­ters for my friend Paul who works for Mil­gard Win­dows.

(pel­la)

headquarters of pella windows

head­quar­ters of pel­la windows

This was my first view of the Mis­sis­sip­pi riv­er in Fort Madi­son. Then the GPS rout­ed me away from the riv­er and I end­ed up not cross­ing until Han­ni­bal, MO.

first look at the mississippi river

first look at the mis­sis­sip­pi river

I stopped for lunch at a Taco Johns. In Can­ton, IL maybe. There were some sad look­ing train bits on a dis­con­nect­ed siding. 

I don’t know whose liv­ery this pur­ple is/was but It must have been an attrac­tive car at one time.

purple railroad car

pur­ple rail­road car 

The Caboose seemed to be doing a bit bet­ter. They have so much more charis­ma and so much less sur­face area to paint.

caboose in a parking lot

caboose in a park­ing lot

Today I saw the first police I’ve seen in four days. (Not count­ing the Pano­ra offi­cer who waved at me while I parked in the lot at the his­tor­i­cal vil­lage.) The first one was marked and as I came up behind him he pulled into the cen­ter medi­an and U-turned back the way we’d come. The sec­ond was an unmarked white unit with the inte­ri­or light­bar. I was doing 72 (cruise con­trol) in a 65. Dri­ving right, pass­ing left, etc. He came up on me as I was pass­ing a tanker truck. Pass com­plet­ed, I pulled over, and he pow­ered on past at 80-some­thing. Clear­ly the time had come to get off the road for the evening.

sleepy good-sheep

It’s a Big Dam Country — Day 7

I think I should decide whether it’s a big dam or a dam big country…

Today was a rest day (on the sev­enth day and all that)

I spent some time explor­ing Pano­ra.

There’s a neat lit­tle his­toric vil­lage. The orig­i­nal rail­road depot was moved down here when the rail­road left in the 60s. 

railroad depot panora, ia

rail­road depot pano­ra, ia

Here’s a glance through the lug­gage room door.

a bit of the past

a bit of the past

There’s a nice caboose (Mil­wau­kee Line livery.)

milwaukee line caboose

mil­wau­kee line caboose

The door is open and you can have look inside. This is the desk area.

small desk in the caboose

small desk in the caboose

On the west edge of town is the Rac­coon Riv­er. There are two dams on the Rac­coon near Pano­ra. Most com­mon­ly known as the Big Dam and the Lit­tle Dam. With all of the trees in full leaf there is no way to get a look at the Big Dam except from a boat on the lake.

The Lit­tle Dam on the oth­er hand is acces­si­ble from both sides of the riv­er at the park.

My moth­er-in-law remem­bers play­ing there as a child and spend­ing time ‘park­ing’ near the dam as a teenag­er. There was less water flow­ing over the dam then and it was com­mon to dri­ve a car out onto the dam and wash it.

dam on the raccoon river

dam on the rac­coon river

The dam was orig­i­nal­ly built from logs. They’re still under there. 

close to the water

close to the water

The last place I went was to the ceme­tery. Some of the graves date from the 1850’s.

the panora cemetery

the pano­ra cemetery

Memo­r­i­al day is next week­end and peo­ple are start­ing to tidy up and dec­o­rate the graves. 

older section of the cemetery

old­er sec­tion of the cemetery

Much of my MIL’s fam­i­ly is buried here as are Jim’s grandparents.

harlold and may harriger

har­lold and may harriger

Bonus Memo­r­i­al Day link — from Aidair IA (down the road about 30 miles)
http://​the​free​dom​rock​.com/
The 11th annu­al ver­sion of a giant paint­ed rock ded­i­cat­ed to US vets.

It’s a Dam Big Country — Day 6

I’m tak­ing a day off from dri­ving. I arrived in Pano­ra, IA yes­ter­day after­noon much in need of rest. I’ve done laun­dry, washed my car, sort­ed some pic­tures, played with my mother-in-law’s dog, and eat­en way too much. It’s all good.

Here’s were I was and what I did Tues­day the 19th (Day 6).

I start­ed the day in Pick­stown, SD hav­ing got­ten some very nice shots of the Ft. Ran­dall dam at dusk the night before. 

There was only one dam on the list for the day, Gavin’s Point Dam near Yank­ton, SD. About 70 miles away. This is anoth­er of the Corps of Engineer’s Mis­souri Riv­er dams. Though this one is alto­geth­er too civ­i­lized. They mow the bloody dam. All of it. With John Deere rid­ing mow­ers. There were four of them out when I was there. (Lawn mow­ing is the offi­cial state sport in Iowa. Yank­ton must Just a lit­tle too close to the bor­der to have escaped from the mania.)

yipes, that's a lot of lawn

yipes, that’s a lot of lawn

There is a pow­er gen­er­a­tion unit in the midst of all that lawn.

gavin's point dam

gavin’s point dam

Just after I left the Gavin’s Point dam I got into Iowa. No, it’s not real­ly all this flat. Yes, all the roads are straight and all the inter­sec­tions are per­fect right angles. (almost)

road in iowa (which is irrelevant)

road in iowa (which is irrelevant)

At about 4pm just as I was dri­ving through Guthrie Cen­ter — the next town west — I got a call from my MIL who’d just got­ten home. “come on over” So I did and who wouldn’t have a bet­ter day if they saw this lit­tle bug­ger jump­ing up and down in the driveway.

ladybug

lady­bug

Day 6 Route:


View It’s a Big Dam Coun­try — Day 6 in a larg­er map